This may be one of my favorite pages of the issue. The action, composition, and how bad-ass Roeke looks in the middle panel of toward the bottom- before smashing Torch's face in, are all working for me. What'd you think?
Part of me wishes I made Torch the main robot, definitely my favorite design (thanks again, James). Oh well, there's still more Torch to come, you'll just have to see next week!
Thanks for reading, er, looking (not much dialogue on this page),
Holy moley, it's 2015!
Nothing like a little imminent DOOM to start off the new chapter of Roeke!
The cover for this chapter was made completely by the sister thing: Amanda Brewer, how cool is that?. The robots were designed by James, and all the art beyond the cover is by me.
Looking at the schedule I've cooked up for myself for the year, I can say that if I keep up with it, it will be probably the most productive year of my whole life. Several times more busy than I was last year, at least. Wish me luck! Oh, and don't forget to subscribe to Roeke over here:
Tapastic should make things a bit more convenient for ya, so you'll never miss a new page! That being said, I just started publishing there and it'll take a little while to get current. I'll let you know when it catches up, too.
Oh, also, why don't ya leave me a comment now and then? Remind me I'm not making this in a complete vacuum, VALIDATE MY EXISTENCE.
Okay, thanks, bye!
What up, party people?
Not much going on in Jhustoe-town right now. Fighting a bit of a cold. I haven't worked on the comic much lately, in all honesty. Thank goodness I have a few page tucked away, eh? Hopefully this week or next I'll get back to it in earnest.
James and I are re-visiting and old comic idea that we think maybe, just maybe, it's time has come. We'll see. If anything, it might be fun to re-read and probably revise some old scripts!
Gonna keep 'er short n' sweet this week, so I'll leave y'all to it. That last sentence had a lot of apostrophes.
Be excellent to each other,
Gooooood Morning In-ter-net!!
Today, Roeke's crafty side repairs a busted elevator control panel. Oh, what excitement! Hahah. Pages like this make me realize why some people wait for pages to pile up so they can binge read ;)
Here are a couple picks of my table at Rose City, as promised:
I was going to post some photos of cosplayers, too, but Weebly is being annoying right now so I opted not to in favor of getting this post up this century...
But, there you have it! We'll see y'all next week!
Well, here we are: Stage 02 at last!
Other than James having already designed the robots, I am flying totally solo this issue! Writing, art, and color were all by me, so you know where to send your complaints ;)
Today's page sees us taking a step into Roeke's past, where we meet Nyant, her future baby-daddy!
AAAAGGHH! I'm Excited! I hope you are, too!! I'm also a bit anxious, as I'm doing this one all myself and I've never really done any coloring. I'm sticking with flat colors for a variety of reasons, but it's good enough for Hawkguy, so it's (probably too) good for me!
We'll take a trip down memory lane with Roeke while, in the present, she faces The Spider one on one! On September 3rd, we'll begin STAGE TWO: A SPIDER IN AUTOMATIC CITY.
See you chumps then, peace!
There's an amazing comic artist by the name of David Aja (pronounced A-Ha, as in "Take on Me"). He draws the Hawkguy parts of the amazing Hawkeye comic. He calls his layout/thumbnail sketches "Little Shits." So, now, let me show you my... little shits.
Wait. That didn't come out right.
SHIT, neither did that!
(okay, I'm done now).
Well, thanks for checkin' this out, y'all!
Next week, we'll chat with James and Amanda about their process (I'm doing the 'interview' tonight, as a matter of fact). Then, on the 27th, we'll maybe sneak a peak at issue 2, which'll start September 3rd.
Here are my initial sketches for the logo design. I stole heavily from Mega Man (I never bothered learning whether that's supposed to be one or two words). My favorite was making the triangle behind the letters into a digital blur.
Then there's my note to my sister, I left this on her desk one morning. She agreed!
Some of the first concepts for Roeke's look, and some bad puns. "No sunglasses (that's a bad idea)." I don't think I was actually planning to give her a scarf, I think that was a separate doodle, figuring out how to... draw scarves. There are a few attempts at naming the world this takes place in, not that it ever gets mentioned in the comic... . My initial instinct was my usual one with regards to giving her a thin jawline, but I wanted to work against my usual "type." The image of Roeke breaking down after losing Miri was one stuck in my head early on.
Here's a mix of my designs, and my practice sketches based on James' designs. The Torch and uppermost Spiders are me working from James' designs. The guardian and the Spider on the bottom right are my designs. Thank god for James, right? I do actually really like the Guardian here, but it was too similar to the Torch in the end (and I had no idea what to do with his legs...).
Here's my first Miri designs, complete with size reference to her mom, and some name ideas (none of which were Miriam, if you can't read them). I had Neene, Aldina, and Mynd. No, thank you, haha. Then, here's where I worked out Roeke's face and look, is she wielding a blaster of some kind there??? And what's with that mask, anyway? Oh, yeah, and I'm working out Roeke's name on this page, as well. ROKKA!
I was gonna throw the whole issue's layouts on here, too, but this is getting lengthy as is. Maybe that'll be next week's post? I still need to interview my collaborators, so I can get their voices in on this thing, too. Anyway, take it easy, folks!
So, next issue, Roeke's getting out of the forest and into the concrete jungle, where there's trouble a plenty waiting. That, however, will have to wait until September while I work on coloring that stage (that is, I'm getting a head start) throughout August.
But, as I said last week, I plan on supplementing with more behind the scenes material, so you'll still have SOMEthing to check out in the interim.
So, those of you checkin' us out every week: THANK YOU! I really hope your enjoying this book, 'cause I got four stages to go and a lotta Robots to kill. And now that stage one is done, you can binge it like you do on netflix. Tell a friend!
Also, speaking of robots, big ups to my man James Lloyd-Knox who, I promise you, delivered way cooler robot designs than I could have come up with on my own. Particularly the Guardian, who I had the least grasp on conceptually.
Finally, three cheers to Amanda Brewer, the patron saint de los colores! Back when I was first writing and drawing this, I realized I kept imagining things in color when I coulda made it black and white. I knew jack squat about coloring, so, naturally, I passed the buck-- and boy, what a great call that was! Now the bots (particularly the Torch) really glow with energy, and we've got our 8-bit skyline keeping my early 90's action game aesthetic alive!
Anywho, see you next week for BTS, and September 3rd we'll find...
A SPIDER IN AUTOMATIC CITY!
Da Daa, Da Daa!
A pretty quiet page with a time lapse, and our penultimate update for Stage 01.
What I could barely manage in B&W, Amanda has made all better with her colors... namely, the transition from late night to early morning. That is one bright-ass moon, eh? I think we did a decent job of making Roeke look like she's about to transition into sleep-walking, too.
Next week, we will be giving you TWO pages! Mostly because I feel that the last page wouldn't stand very well completely on its own, as the page before it leads right into it. Storytelling! And that is gonna wrap up stage one, we did it!
I don't know if I told you guys this, but I'm learning to color myself now, so I can let Amanda get back to our other project, Autumn. I'm five or so pages through issue 2 on that front, and when that's done I'll just have lettering to do.
That being said, I'm new and slow and coloring is sometimes kinda frustrating! In order to be absolutely sure I can keep pace with my one-a-week schedule, we're going to be taking August off, and starting stage two in September.
But, I plan on giving you at least SOME excuse to come to the site in August, as I'll publish more behind the scenes for issue one! In addition to my own concept sketches and page layouts, I wanna get James' robot concepts in here with maybe some commentary from him. Ooo, and let's interview Amanda or something and she can tell us about her process and NOT killing me! :P
Other than that, we're just a couple months away from me tabling at my first con! Rose City Comic Con (RCCC) is September 20 and 21. I plan on having a limited print edition of Roeke 01 for sale there, and maybe some art prints or something? And Jenny bought me a card-reader for my phone, so's I can take credit cards for payment there, woo! I went overboard and got extra exhibitor badges for everyone so it could be a packed table at times, haha. Don't know what, if anything, James and Amanda will have there, but you can meet them and thank them for me :) I'm sharing the table with my buddy James Ratcliffe (dubbed "Sleazy James" to differentiate the two), so you should check his stuff out, too!
Interested in attending the con (and why wouldn't you be)? Check out more info and see my name in the exhibitor-artist alley list at http://rosecitycomiccon.com/
Well, that ended up being a long one! Come on back next week for the final TWO pages of Roeke 01!
Quiet page, Manda color good
TWO pages next week, end of Stage 01!
BTS in August, Stage 02 starts in September!
I do my own coloring in Stage 02 (and beyond)
RCCC's gonna be crowded Sept. 20 and 21
I hope upon seeing the title of today's blog you all finished it in your head with "Never Surrender," because I did. :)
Well, the robots have won. Poor Roeke. Comic's over now, guys, you can go home. HA! Just kidding. If you think a little unconsciousness is gonna stop our intrepid heroine, you've got another thing coming!
Artistically, this is one of my faaaaaaavorite pages. Can you tell we had fun with it? I loved tilting the "camera" with Roeke's POV as she hit the ground. Then the drifting out of and then back into consciousness like a falling leaf. All of which Amanda nailed and enhanced with the color art. All to end with the super pulled back long shot, showing just how alone she is now. What a bummer!
Well, you basically have to come back next week, right? Who could leave it be on this note?
Until next time!
I've never really thought this was something that people take stances on, but I am decidedly pro-sound effects. Yes, it can be done wrong or cheesy or what-have-you. But to have NOTHING there? You mean that explosion didn't make a sound? Dumb.
I'm a fan of the Torch looking back over his shoulder like, "She's still up?"
Well, we'll see how long that lasts, now that it's three-vs.-one.
I really like that action streak amanda did in the jump-kick panel, like it's popping on contact with Roeke. Neat design. And did you guys catch my Spider-Man swipe in panel 7?
It's 10:30 and I'm rockin some Ida Maria as I prep this page to be published.
The Guardian stands revealed, the last- and deadliest- of the 'bots! What is it guarding anyway? Definitely not Roeke or her house, dats fo sho. The two close-ups are my favs of this page, especially Roeke's "oh shit" face at the impending rocket. Manda made Guardian's death-stare robot eyes real scary. Good job.
Then we end another page with Roeke rushing to catch up with the other robots, who are escaping with Miri!
Win or lose, this fight's wrapping up soon... we're rootin' for ya, Roeke (except James, he has a tendency to always root for cool robots, even if they're the bad guys).
Don't miss the next exciting page, same 'bot day, same 'bot website (or whatever)!
Neither these robots nor Roeke seem to be giving in, eh? And that foot kicking Roeke looks a bit different then the two robots we've encountered so far, wouldn't you say?
Drawing wise, panels one and three are still some of my favorites from the whole issue. Which is then balanced by panel 8, where I forget how to anatomy.
If you notice some of the shapes and backgrounds come out a little blobby? That's all me. AmTip (like a pro tip, but from an amateur!): The more corners you cut as an artist, the more knives your poor colorist will be stabbing you with later. So, uh, let's give it up for Amanda for not committing fratricide! Yaaaaaay! ;P
Well here's the "script" for page 16 and 17.
Well, it's almost 11 and I gotta get this thing posted. Catch you folk next week!
Haha, get it? I wonder if "achievement writer" is a paid position. Hire me!
Do you like looking into Roeke or Miri's eyes? Well, thank Amanda, 'cause I just drew some ovals and circles, she's going in and rendering them herself because otherwise they "look funny." I didn't even ask her to, she just does.
That very middle panel (#7) was difficult for me. I still don't know if it worked or not. Does it look like she's trying to push off from the Spider with her legs? That's what I was going for.
The blood Manda colored adds so much more weight to this scene then when it was black and white. I wanna get her a tissue.
She's fairing pretty well for it being two on one, and now she's got a weapon! Come back next week to see how that changes things...
Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Well, the fight's out! Robots are lookin' to punch Roeke's lights out. She better back up, and guard her grill...
Choreographing a fight scene is a really fun challenge. Getting Amanda to color it without a proper script is a mean mean thing, though. But, as you can see, we got through it. Panel 5 is definitely my fav on this one, with the robots calmly walkin' out on her. Those dicks!
Then I'm gonna end every page with Roeke charging, haha.
Well, page 14 is pretty much exactly the same as my layouts. But look at panel 1 of 15, completely different angle! I think that is one of those spots I made a conscious effort to get more profile shots in, so as to elicit that side-scroller feeling. Also, dramatic foreshortening is hard :P
Anywho, think that's it for this round, see youse guys next week!
The robots are finally here! What do they want with Miri? And why does Roeke recognize them? Read on, true believer (I think I got that from somewhere...)!
Amanda went and turned a mundane stare down into a hyper-action anime staredown! And the colors go well with the website logo! It's all about Roeke's eye in that second to last panel, though! And did you see the bits of orange in the smoke... it's like it's a real fire! Good job, sisses!
Oh, hey, the robots are here, so now's a good a time as any to reveal our FINAL COLLABORATOR, haha. Actually, I've already mentioned him and this: But those sweet robot designs are compliments of one James Lloyd-Knox. We'll get him a bio up on the about page soon!
Well, it's already past 10 and I wanna get this thing posted, so I'm calling it there.
See ya next week!
Today we have another day of domestic bliss depicting Roeke's perfect family life.
You know, Miri looks like she's old enough to be feeding herself... but, uh.. what's Roeke know about raising kids? We'll see in future installments that she hasn't had a lot of examples to go by.
Anyway, I really like how the forced perspective turned out in panel 5, with the spoon there. And, then, it looks like there is a limit to mom's patience. Let's see what happens now... (well, next week...)
Be Excellent to Each Other,
Hello, my lovelies!
How'd you like page 5? Me too/neither, as applicable.
The line about improvisational narratives? That's probably the most meta thing I've ever written, seriously, might as well have drawn myself saying it, haha.
Miri doesn't talk much, does she? One of my little cousins barely says a word either, but you can always tell that her brain is working, she understands you and she's actually quite clever. Miri, though, she's just grumpy.
Amanda's colors made the river panel stand out a lot better. The extra shadow splotchies on the ground helps sell that 'middle of the woods on a nice day' serenity.
Anywho, thought I'd spend the rest of this post telling you all what's going on behind the scenes of Roeke!
Their are going to be 5 stages/chapters/issues in total, and I've plotted the whole thing out. I've outlined the major beats and know pretty much what happens on every page through the very end. I've scripted through issue 3, and have, in fact, started drawing it. Issue 2 is penciled, inked, and partially lettered, and Amanda is several pages ahead of us coloring issue 1.
If we get to a point where we're far enough ahead, I might start posting twice a week. But I'm terrified of running out of finished work and having to delay mid-story. I'd rather just take a break between each chapter and post otherwise uninterrupted. We'll see how that goes :)
Well, take care, y'all. Be excellent to each other!
Howdy there, everyone!
I've got some cool news for y'all (well, for me, anyway)!
I'll have an artist alley table at Rose City Comic Con this September (COMMENCE AIR GUITAR SOLO)! I'm splitting it with my homeboy, James Ratcliffe, a fine comics illustrator himself. We also got Amanda and James (Lloyd-Knox) badges, too, so they could man the tables when I pee or whatever, oh, and I guess so you can meet and chat with them or something.
This is my first ever con as a table-haver, so, y'know, excitement! I'm plotting what I'm gonna do with my half the real-estate.... Chapter one of Roeke will be done by the end of July (sticking to my current schedule), so a print version of that seems to be in order. Maybe do a print run on Virgin Nation, too, if budget permits? I think Amanda might want to get some prints in there for sale, too. Obviously, we've got a while to figure it all out, and I'm totes open for advice and opinions if you've got 'em!
Anyway, to our regularly scheduled blogging:
You may notice that this is, in fact, Friday-- and not Wedenesday. I've decided to spread my content load out a bit each week, so you'll get the new page on Wednesdays still, but then you can come back and read the blog on Fridays. Thrilling, no? I love watching the stat-tracker graph trace beautiful mountain ranges.
As for page 04, I'd like to say I like panels 3 and 5 in particular, I thought they turned out well. It was important to me, too, to contrast Roeke's sentimental captions with a crying baby, because even when Miri's not okay, she's still Roeke's whole world. Parenting 101 stuff, right?
Man, definitely need to be more mindful of how much space I leave for word balloons, my improvisational solution of breaking panel 1 with panel 2's dialog worked out-- and even helped lead your eyes through the page, sure-- but I'm telling you that was a happy accident while resolving the lack of balloon-space in that second panel, heh.
As always, mah Sisses colors good. It was her call, you know, to give Roeke blue eyes. I hadn't told her what color yet (forgot to mention, really), but I was thinking brown. When I got the blue in, though, man, and that shade and piercing shine, yeah. Of course I went with that, it looks great!
I'm starting to think my commentary would be better served as a retrospective, since I keep finding myself not saying a bunch a stuff because I realize that none of you have read it yet. I'll probably still do the mini-comments, though. And then do a big one at the end of ... each chapter? The series? BOTH!?!?
I'm tabling at RCCC
Blog has moved to Friday, comic stays on Wednesday!
I stole this device from Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue's newsletter!
Peace, y'all, be excellent to each other!
I was gonna write about how page one is here and hooray and finally and all that! But I feel that may be a bit much lately...
I could do a commentary track, I suppose? Things like, "That's supposed to be two leaves knocked loose by the ascending bird, but James joked that the bird was pooping and by the time Amanda colored it, that's what it became."
My photoshop-fu is not very mighty, so enjoy the exclusive look at my blue-penciled sketch lines! Ooo Aaaaa.
The solid-color "gradient" for the sunrise was Amanda's call and complete brilliance, she's taken my NES palette challenge to the next level by giving us a background we'd see in an old game... bravo.
Story-wise, we've established our main character and bit of her morning routine. And she's bored! Well, Roeke, be careful of what you implicitly wish for...
I wrote the last paragraph and deleted it twice. Part of me feels like a magician revealing his secrets (I'm not), or or... pretentious some how. Like the work is somehow worthy of such discourse. I think I should leave it be, let the page speak for itself, and let the audience read it as they will. Too many lit-classes, I suppose. Now write an essay on how my brilliant masterpiece uses the character, Roeke, to dissect, compare and contrast the hard, but simple living of farm-life versus the hustle and bustle of a more urban environment. And supposing all that, what does the bird symbolize? Or the shape of the clouds?
OR, you could just tune in again next week for the next update!
Born in California, Justin now resides in Portland, OR. He's had a passion for comics from a very young age